Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust taken out of special measures amidst coronavirus pandemic

Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has been released from the special measures that were imposed on the Trust in 2017.

The decision was made following a recommendation by Professor Ted Baker, the Care Quality Commission's Chief Inspector of Hospitals, after the CQC's latest inspection at the end of last year.

The measures have been lifted as the Trust uses all of its resources to tackle the coronavirus pandemic in Cornwall.

The Trust is now rated as 'Good' in being well-led.

The Trust was rated 'Inadequate' overall by the CQC in July 2017, due to concerns relating to patient safety, the organisational culture, and governance.

Special measures were then put in place in October 2017.

During the inspection in November and December 2019, the Trust was reviewed and rated as 'Good' for being effective and caring, and jumped from 'Inadequate' to 'Good' in being well led.

NHS England has praised the work done to turn the Trust around, but recognises that there is still work to be done.

This is a real achievement for everyone at Royal Cornwall Hospitals. Turning around a whole Trust, with all its complexities, isn’t quick or easy. But we’ve seen unwavering commitment at every level to improving care for patients.

Elizabeth O’Mahony, Regional Director of NHS England and NHS Improvement in the South West
Chief Executive of the Trust, Kate Shields, has praised staff for turning the rating around.

Kate Shields, Chief Executive of the Trust, has praised everyone working across the Trust for their hard work in improving the service.

She recognised that the coronavirus pandemic is putting pressure on healthcare workers, but said the good news would give staff a 'boost'.

Everyone is working very hard to prepare for COVID-19 and this news is a real boost for them and our community.

Kate Shields, RCH Trust

In recommending their removal from special measures, Prof Baker cited RCHT’s “journey of improvement and progress” over the past two-and-a-half years.

In particular, he noted:

  • Strong, cohesive leadership from the board with a clear understanding of the challenges facing the Trust and vastly improved visibility and approachability for staff.

  • Strengthened governance and oversight processes, with clearer ward to board reporting supported by an internal restructure from four divisions into seven care groups.

  • A vastly improved culture of support, openness, candour and wellbeing, with a strong focus on safety and quality.

  • Development programmes for leaders across the organisation to build their skills and enable them to tackle improvements locally.

  • A new ‘Being Brilliant’ strategy with three key objectives: Brilliant care; Brilliant People; Brilliant Improvement. Staff had really bought into this concept and they were enthused by and engaged with the programme.